A working horn necessary on all highway vehicles; trailer registration exemptions



Question: I bought a used vehicle and noticed that the horn does not work. Is a person required to have a horn?

Answer: Yes, you are required to have a working horn in the State of Minnesota.

According to Minnesota State Statute, “Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway must be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet. However, the horn or other warning device must not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation, give audible warning with the horn, but shall not otherwise use the horn when upon a highway.”  It also states, “A vehicle must not be equipped with, and a person shall not use upon a vehicle, any siren, whistle, or bell, except as otherwise permitted in this section.” (Such as an authorized emergency vehicle – squad car, ambulance, fire truck.) 

I believe the definition of whistle is quite clear and unreasonably loud or harsh sounds should come down to common sense and good judgment.  When I was in high school, I used an aftermarket Dixie horn to play the General Lee’s theme song from our high school football team’s car.  The car was painted maroon, had a picture of the school mascot and was decorated with all of the football players’ names.  The horn sounded great at the football field but most certainly would not be legal on public roads.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848, or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us. Twitter: MSPPIO_SOUTH.


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